No matter how ready you are for a life without spectacles or contact lenses, the decision to undergo Laser Vision Correction is a big one. Your eyes are most important, and you want to make sure that the procedure you undergo offers you the maximum safety, precision and comfort. That is exactly what Centre for Sight now offers the most advanced approach to laser vision correction. The use of femtosecond laser has greatly enhanced the efficacy and safety of laser vision correction. Centre for Sight was the first to introduce Femtosecond LASIK laser in South East Asia. Also, the innovative ReLEx SMILE technology for Femtosecond laser treatment was first introduced by New Vision Laser Centres, our partner in laser vision correction. With the ReLEx SMILE method, you can have a laser vision correction procedure which is not only 100% blade free, but which also allows you the luxury of no corneal flap, and which offers you a pain free treatment.
What is the ReLEx SMILE method?
The ReLEx SMILE method is not only a 100% blade free approach to laser vision correction, but is a step superior to the No Blade approach of Femto-LASIK. In Femto-LASIK, a laser is used to create the corneal flap, which is then folded back by the surgeon to perform the LASIK procedure. While Femto-LASIK or No Blade LASIK is superior to the more traditional method of microkeratome blade LASIK, it still means that a corneal flap needs to be created in your eye.
The ReLEx SMILE method, by contrast, enables your surgeon to perform laser vision correction without any flap at all. There is no danger that the flap can get displaced, either immediately after the procedure, or even years after the procedure. And the corneal surface cells hardly get disturbed during the procedure, which means that there is hardly any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
How does the ReLEx SMILE method work?
During the ReLEx SMILE method, tiny pulses of laser light, about one quadrillionth of a second each, pass harmlessly through the outer portion of the cornea and form two uniform layers of microscopic bubbles just beneath the surface of your eye. This defines a “lenticule” within the cornea, which corresponds to the number which needs to be corrected.
The exact dimensions of these two layers of bubbles are determined by your surgeon based on what's best for your eye and your refractive error. The whole process is computer controlled for maximum precision to limits that are not attainable with any hand-held blade. The ReLEx SMILE lenticule creation process takes only 20-30 seconds per eye.
Immediately after the lenticule creation process, surgeon will separate the two tissue layers where these bubbles occur, and then quickly extract the lenticule from the cornea, from an incision which is only 3-5 mm wide.
That's it. Your eye now begins to heal. You may experience some foreign body sensation or pain for a couple of hours, but you can resume all normal activities almost immediately after the procedure. There is no flap in the eye, so there is no need to be terribly careful.
Is it right for me?
If you are looking for blade free treatment which is even safer and more precise than any other LASIK, the answer is yes.
The ReLEx SMILE method also creates the potential for outstanding visual results. More patients achieve 20/20 or better when the ReLEx SMILE method is used. And patients report better quality of vision overall, particularly in their ability to see well in low light, such as at dusk or in the night. The treatment induces less aberration in the eye and also induces less dry eyes.
What are the surgical advantages of the ReLEx SMILE method?
The ReLEx SMILE method gives the surgeon many advantages over the conventional LASIK treatment. These include:
No Flap to Displace: Since there is no flap, flap displacements and flap related complications cannot occur.
Less Dry Eye: Because of the tiny incision, there is less cutting of corneal nerves, leading to less dry eye and improved corneal sensitivity after the procedure.
Better Corneal Biomechanics: Since the lenticule is removed from a small incision, the corneal biomechanical strength is less reduced after ReLEx SMILE than with other techniques.
Much More Precison and Stability: ReLEx SMILE does not involve using an excimer laser at all, only a femtosecond laser. The total energy introduced by the laser into the eye is upto 10 times less than an excimer laser. So inflammation is less, and there is more stability of the result.
While an excimer laser is dependent on atmospheric humidity and other conditions, the femtosecond laser is much more robust. The result is a much more precise treatment. This ensures that the patient has a more comfortable and better visual quality after the ReLEx SMILE method.
(Dr. Mahipal S Sachdev is Chairman – Centre for Sight Group of Hospitals)